Roma join Arsenal in race for Velez Sarsfield's Ricky Alvarez - report

The Argentinian playmaker has attracted the interest of several European clubs and the Serie A side have now joined the race for his signature
Ambitious Serie A side Roma have joined the race for Argentine playmaker Ricky Alvarez, currently under contract with Velez Sarsfield, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

The capital giants missed out on Champions League qualification this season and the club's new owners are determined to make a return to the competition by investing in the playing squad.

The Romans had initially set their sights on River Plate midfielder Erik Lamela, but they have now reportedly turned their attention to the exciting 23-year-old instead.

Premier League side Arsenal have also been linked with a swoop for Alvarez, who has three years left on his current deal, but a source close to Velez told that only a significant offer would see him move to Europe.

"Velez have no current intention to sell Alvarez. We have a philosophy at this club of not selling players at a young age and letting them reach their potential. Velez would require an offer similar to what we received from Al-Sadd for Mauro Zarate."

The Qatar Stars League side paid €14 million for the Lazio striker in 2007, and Velez were also able to hold on to 20 per cent of Zarate's contract rights as part of the deal.

Alvarez, who also holds an Italian passport, is lauded for his versatilty, and can be employed in a midfield role or as a second striker.

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